Monday, February 15, 2010

random thought of how to stay motivated and inspired to scrapbook

I was working in Alpine the other day and I one of the women working at the photography shoot and saw me reading a scrapbook magazine on break, and said she was a scrapbooker too. She said she had soooo many supplies and hadn't scrapbooked in quite a while, we are talking years. She said she couldn't wait for her daughter to start college in the fall, so she will have more time to scrap. She said "I am sooo BEHIND in scrapping, but the good thing is that when your kids get older you don't take as many photos, then I will work faster when I get to the photos of my kids when they are older since there are not so many photos."
I felt a bit sad and knew the answer, but asked any how, "Do you scrapbook chronologically?"
she said, "of course, how would you organize your pages otherwise?".

I think the problem lies not with enough time, but with attempting to scrapbook chronologically. I too started scrapbooking chronological when I started scrapping. My friend who got me started was a big CM fan, and told me to "work" from the present until I get "caught up" and then go backwards. I tried that for about 1 year or more, and for so many reasons it didn't work and I gave up scrapbooking for 2 YEARS! I actually would not take photos of events and things we would do, since then it would put me "more behind". I felt like I had to scrapbook every photo and didn't want to add to the time of scrapping more than what I already had on my plate! The friend who got me started in scrapbooking, who would only "work" chronologically, does not scrapbook any more. When I was "working" chronologically I QUIT scrapping. It was too overwhelming and felt like a chore! ugh. It felt like an endless task as if someone said to go shovel snow during a blizzard. Why? I will never get "caught up".

Scrappers often ask me how I stay motivated or inspired and I tell them I just see something and then have a burst of inspiration. sometimes I see a purse, or a greeting card and I think "Oh, I could...", or sometimes I take a photo and I cant wait to scrap it! remember, I QUIT scrapbooking for 2 years when it felt impossible to ever "catch up". One morning I thought "wait! when I make a painting, I never felt like I had to catch up!" I would simply create a painting because I felt like it.

At the photo shoot in Alpine, I saw many moms who I knew from scrapbooking, I use to teach at the store in Alpine (which is no longer around). I had not seen them forever - because they do not scrapbook any more :( Every one of them were chronological scrappers and I tried to give my Anti-chronological speech to them back then, but to no avail. Their response would be "but I have so much to get done!" "I can't work on this photo yet, I need to get caught up" I told them to look at the photos like having a lot of Barbies, more to play with! It didn't phase them as they feverishly pasted photos on pages in their attempt to catch up on work. I would suggest "That is a great photo, you should write something about it". The response would be that they didn't have time to work on heartfelt journaling, or it was so long ago they didn't remember much about it. I have been told too many times by chronological scrappers that they trying not to take photos in an attempt to get "caught up". Those ladies would eventually stop coming to the crops. I ran into one of the ladies at the grocery store and asked how she had been. She said she was fine, but gave up on scrapbooking, she said she never felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel. I told her boxes of photos to me is like opportunities to create!

I also saw several scrappers at the photo shoot that I met 10+ years ago at the Alpine store, but I have seen them recently at the scrapbook store I teach at now { Yellowbird Scrapbook Store} - they are still scrapping and enjoy their hobby now, just as much as years ago, and seeing them working on pages at the crops, they do NOT work chronologically.

I do not profess to know the key to keeping inspired, finding time to scrapbook or being motivated to scrapbook, but just from my personal experience and from teaching for over 1o years, I have met so many scrapbookers by working at the crops, having friends, neighbors and teaching and...I have seen so many people quit scrapping. Almost all of them worked chronologically. The scrapbookers that are still scrapbooking that I met over 10 years ago just create as they like. They take classes, make projects, and just create from the heart. In the same day they might scrapbook the photo they just took yesterday, and then photos from 5 years ago. Just like they do, I allow my self to create anything I wish. It is not WORK, it is supposed to be my creative outlet, it is my hobby, it is my happy time, it is my gift to myself - to make the time for me to create something from the heart. This is a hobby just like running. Why do some people looove running or jogging and others join a gym and quit after 2 months? Because the gym was not something that they internally loved, they know they should do it, but it is a chore, and so they find something that prevents them from going to the gym.

Let me make clear, that while I am making my observation, what works for me, does not work for everyone, my style is not every one's style, I realize that. Everyone needs to find their bliss. That is the great thing about scrapbooking, it is a great hobby, there is no right and wrong, it mixes family, memories and art and produces something meaningful for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Scrapbooking is a craft for any age or ability. I am a strong supporter in the value of scrapbooking and the creative process. I love scrapbooking and it deeply saddens me when people work on their scrapbooks and are not enjoying it, I will watch some of the scrappers at a crop and they look as though they are doing homework.

I am saying this because I want all scrapbookers to find joy in their hobby. I see so many scrapbookers "burn out", most of them worked chronological. I am saying this in an attempt to keep people inspired and passionate about a craft that they enjoy. If you actually do find your joy and bliss by working chronologically, then more power to you, but you are the exception, not the rule.

I also meet moms who do not scrapbook and they say "I have no time to get all my photos onto scrapbook pages!" If I talk to them a bit more, the only exposure they have had to scrapping is someone who works chronologically and "has to get their albums done". Does scrapbooking seem like a time consuming, drudgery chore to people who do not scrapbook?

Scrapbookers who create freely, keep the passion for creating and scrapbooking longer. The people I know that are still scrapbooking 10 & 15 years later, let themselves work on whatever they feel inspired to work on. I must admit, I know scrapbookers who were Hall of Famers, published, active scrappers who do not scrapbook any more. They did not make pages chronologically. Many of them now are just more passionate about another hobby or wanted to focus on something else. Working chronologically or out of order, does not guarantee that you will remain an avid scrapper, but from what I have experienced, the chronological scrappers burn out and lose interest more often. Scrapping becomes a chore, work or a task. They never feel the joy of creating, like a runner's high, when I make a page or project and I just love how it came out, I feel like I want to do the happy dance! I hang it up for a few days, look at it, walk by it, share it with friends...it makes me smile.

I take sooo many photos, if I did scrap each one or even 1/2 of the photos I have taken, I would need a storage unit to store all the albums. when my kids get married or move out, I would need to say "get an extra bedroom for the 40 scrapbooks mommy has made you!"

Just consider this:
do you call scrapping work or "I need to work on..."? I call it making a page, creating a layout...
do you say you are "behind or need to get caught up"?
if you are working in order, if you are working on your son's 2nd year of life, and you just took photos of his high school graduation, by the time you get to the photos from 2009, will you remember the personal details?
do you feel that needing to scrap every single photo, and not just your favorites adds pressure or makes it seem like work? do you think that scrapping 500 photos and not just your favorite 50 adds to the time and cost of scrapping?
do you see embellishments you would love to buy, but you "can't" because you aren't working on that right now?
do you struggle with inspiration to create something cute since you are working on Easter photos in December?
do you rush through pages just to get them done? do you find real joy in every page or is it just "finished"?
is scrapbooking your favorite escape or something that needs to get done, similar to an oil change?
I have had several friends who were avid scrappers and passed away. the scrappers who worked chronologically maybe did not get to create pages that were meaningful to them, maybe didn't get to scrap the photos they were excited to work on. A friend of mine passed away and a week before she died, I had encouraged her to work out of order and create a page about her son who was a senior in high school. she had this photo of him that she just loved and I helped her create a page using the photo, even though she was working on photos of her son in preschool. I helped with the page and she worked to compose a letter to him about how proud she was of him. Have you created that page you have been wanting to do, or are you waiting until you are caught up?
do you feel like you cant spend time journaling or spend money on embellishments since you have soooo many pages to finish? Perhaps make 2 special pages instead of 10 simple pages. If you make two special pages about a birthday party, do you think that can tell the story as well as 15 pages? do the 15 pages tell the story better? if it adds to the story, keep creating pages, if it is redundant then why make the pages?
do you ever get a great idea for a page, but feel like you are not allowed to work on that since it is out of order?

When people stop scrapbooking, it makes me sad, they have probably invested a lot of money in supplies and tools and use to find pleasure in their hobby. Scrapbooking should be fun, not a chore. scrapbooking should be a creative outlet, not work. I want people to love and enjoy scrapbooking, and it is a shame when scrappers stop scrapping because it becomes a chore.
I truly believe that working chronologically, while very organized, undermines the creative process and result in burn out. They often say "I just don't have enough time"...
I think that you have to consider two things, 1. do you make time to watch 6 hours of TV a week? do you spend time on the computer playing games, farmville, or facebook? do you make time to play bunco or go to a mom's group? I am not saying to give up these things at all, I repeat: I am not saying to give up these things to have more time to scrap. the point is that: YOU MAKE THE TIME TO DO THESE THINGS, you have to make time to scrapbook. Everyone has to make the time to do what you want to do. You have to make time to eat and sleep! You will never just HAVE time laying around to scrapbook. Yes, I admit, laundry and work sure does get in the way of scrapping :) but I have to MAKE time, it is my gift to me, my contribution to my sanity :) creating is part of what makes me happy. Although I am a single mom, and my kids take center stage, I deserve a little quiet time too. If you feel like you don't deserve to spend time creating a scrapbook page, or feel guilty for using free time to scrap, then you will always have a hard time finding time to scrapbook.

Do I have enough time to scrapbook every photo I have ever taken? No. So, I just create a page or a project here and there. When I am actually inspired to create a layout or project, I find it goes together easier and in less time than when I was trying to scrapbook chronological - staring at the photos of making a snow man, while it was 105 degrees out and my daughter was asking for another otter pop. My youngest daughter is now 9 1/2 years old and I JUST NOW scrapped a photo of my daughter making a snow angel when she was 20 months old. { and it is in this month's issue of BHG } I knew it was a great photo, but never quite felt like I had the right inspiration to use it, finally I had this idea for these snow flakes and angel and then I could add wings, and glitter and...it just pulled together.

I think that working chronologically is such a overwhelming project it can suppress the desire to scrap, like if you have 2 free hours to scrap, it would only be a drop in the bucket of the task of getting caught up, why even scrap, just go do some house work... :(
If you just allow yourself to work because you are inspired to create something, you will find you make time to scrap more often. What you create does not have to be a layout either! It can be a card, a mini book, a banner...Often, when a scrapbooker asks how to get back into scrapping after not scrapping for an extended time, I suggest to make a card, a gift card holder, wrap a present elaborately using their scrap supplies.

I have observed many scrappers and everyone works differently, some work at night, some stand, some cant get anything done at a crop, and some only can get scrapping done at a crop...but the common thing I have noticed is that the chronological scrapbookers burn out more often and faster. When I suggest they would enjoy scrapping more if they allowed themselves to work out of order, they gasp in disbelief. I wish they could see they will most likely be the rule, not the exception. They most likely will not be scrapbooking several years from now. None of us know the future, who knows, maybe I wont be scrapping 5 years from now, but it will not be because I felt like scrapping is a
chore.

6 Comments:

Blogger Cards&Stuff said...

This is so true!! Your story is touching & inspiring:) Sometimes I do feel like it gets to be a chore... and I realized I need to be inspired to create...whatever it is. Thanks for sharing your advice, Johanna

3:18 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

I totally agree with you Johanna. I definitely scrap photos that inspire me now. When I file my photos (unscrapped) I add index cards with the dates and some details so I remember later. I also like scrapping out of order - because then your albums don't have that look of the latest fad all in one section - like - the button phase - the sticker phase - the flower phase. They are all mixed around ! Great post.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Lee-Anne said...

This is so true. I love to create and I wouldn't be scrapbooking anymore if it had to be chronological. It would be like a chore. I look at scrapbooking as therapeutic, an artistic expression and also a way of showing my family how much I treasure them. Thanks for sharing your blog.

8:25 PM  
OpenID notthemom said...

Thank you so very much for this post. I always feel like I am behind. I love to create layouts but I have 5 kids and the oldest is going to be 24 soon. I can never catch up and I haven't been scrapping for two years because of that. I don't know why but what you said struck a chord in me and now I feel free to just work on the photo's that I want to. Thank you

Mary Anne

6:13 AM  
Blogger Crafty-liz said...

That is true! I have so many things I want to scrapbook, but I always put it off, because I should start with baby photo's. I never start because then I'll never catch up! I'll just start with photo's I love. Thank you for the advice.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Kimberley Martini said...

I love what you wrote. I think it should be published as an editorial in a magazine. I am a stamper and card maker and I have been hanging around a scrapbook store. They are not converting me to scrap as a 12x12 just seems huge. I am leaning towards mini books so your article makes sense to me. Why start at the beginning when you can start now? Each day is a new beginning anyways.

10:33 AM  

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